Mullah Hamoud Hilali was the preacher at Mosul’s al-Nuri mosque before ISIS. He was there when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his caliphate three years ago today.
Afterwards, he was stripped of his job and retired.
With the liberation of al-Nuri mosque just days after ISIS blew up the historic site, Hilali warns that ISIS gained a foothold in Mosul because the people had been discriminated against and exploited by Baghdad.
To fully eradicate such extremist groups, he says it is crucial to rebuild trust between the Iraqi government and the people of Mosul.